Recession Proof Jobs

Are we in a recession? Various analysts have different answers, but I'mnot sure the question really matters since these downturns are usuallyidentified ex post facto. Calamity always makes for good press, andnothing is more personal than the economy, so every downturn getsexamined like an oncologist studying a smoker's X-rays.

Yet the unemployment rate in the US is a relatively low 5.5%.

The current slowdown does have the feel of a perfect storm of badnews with huge energy price hikes and the collapse of mortgage marketsspiking costs and accelerating layoffs. The dollar continues to slideagainst, well, most mainstream currencies while our trade deficit sendstoo many greenbacks to China, which is creating an odd blend ofcommunism that is perfecting capitalism.

T. Boone Pickens is buying ad spots to say we ship $700 billionoverseas each year just for oil, which is more than the GDP of all but16 countries. None of these problems seem likely to change in the nearterm, so the rough times could go one for quite a while.

The word “recession” inspires fear, above all, of job loss. There'snot much scarier than getting a pink slip as so many live a paycheck ortwo away from ruin. Are any jobs safe? Are some more at risk thanothers?

Jobfox did an analysis (availableas a PDF file) of their hiring data and came up with the 20 mostrecession-proof profession. I think their methodology was flawed, butthe numbers are interesting nonetheless.

Surprisingly, the most recession-proof job is that of SalesRep/Business Development. Normally these are two very differentoccupations so it's odd they were clumped together. SoftwareDesign/Development is number two, and the study claims “Computer software engineers are expectedto be among the fastest-growing occupations through 2016 .”That's great news for firmware folk.

Accounting gets slots 4, 5 and 10, followed at 6 by network admins.Surely that “profession” will change as networking becomes truly theinvisible and automatic fabric of the world. MCSEs and the like will gothe way of the slide rule once networking under Windows works properlybecomes seamless. I suspect there will be a need for low-level techswho plug cables, and for networking engineers who design datacentersand Internet connectivity.

EEs get spot 17. So, from an embedded perspective, both sides of ourbusiness are expected to remain in strong demand.

Careers that manage technology, in various forms, hold fivepositions, a full quarter of the top so-called recession-proof jobs. Soperhaps the most interesting takeaway from this study is: Get that MBA.

What's your take? How recession-proof is embedded development?

Jack G. Ganssle is a lecturer and consultant on embeddeddevelopment issues. He conducts seminars on embedded systems and helpscompanies with their embedded challenges. Contact him at . His website is .

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